New bill seeks to create special plates for those with disabilities

STATE NEWS — The 111th General Assembly is now in a joint session in Nashville and a proposed bill by Franklin Republican Brandon Ogles seeks to allow the state to issue a special license plate to individuals with certain intellectual or developmental disabilities. According to the bill, its intention would be to help police know if the driver had any condition that might hamper communication with law enforcement.

House Bill 1584 states that it would “authorize department of revenue to issue, upon request, special license plates bearing a distinctive combination of letters and numbers identifying vehicles operated by persons with intellectual disabilities, developmental disabilities, or medical conditions that may impact their encounters with first responders.”

According to the bill summary, the particular set of letters and numbers would be disclosed only to the Department of Safety and law enforcement officials. It’s not intended to be common knowledge available to the general public. It’s also important to note that the legislation is not mandatory, and that disabled person would have the option to apply for the new plate or not.

If approved, the new law would go into effect on January 1, 2021. When contacted for comment, the Tennessee Disability Coalition said they were monitoring the bill but had no official stance or comment at this time.

To read the House Bill 1584 as proposed, click here. To voice your opinion, contact Representative Iris Rudder at 615-741-8695 or Senator Shane Reeves at 615-741-1066. •

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